Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part X - The Barons Heart - Chapter 10
Quit Monkeying Around
Glorfindel carefully looked around the room they just materialized into. They were all standing on a teleporter mechanism. Elvisda was to his left and Donatello was to his right. In front of them stood Fafnar and the wizard and cleric he had brought along.
Past the teleporter pad, the rest of the room was circular with a high ceiling and some large windows. Outside was a wide river with two smaller islands and one larger one in the middle, a couple of bridges crossing over them, and a town sprawled on the left bank. The town looked familiar.
“I think we are in Tarrsmorr,” Glo said out loud.
“Are you sure?” Elvisda asked.
“Reasonably so,” Glo answered. “I was there a few months ago. That river, those islands and the town look very much like what I remember of Tarrsmorr. Now…considering that we are in a circular room, and relatively high up…we are most likely on the north most island…in Gaither’s tower.”
“The great Wizard Gaither?” the other wizard asked.
“The very same,” Glo answered. “He had a tower one of the islands in Tarrsmorr. It had been sealed off for years since he died, but it seems that as luck would have it, we are now inside.”
“I hope that turns out to be good luck,” Donatello commented.
They began to step off the teleporter and move around the room when they heard a noise coming up the steps from below. A large figure appeared as it came up the circular stairwell. It was not all that pleasant looking. The creature looked as if it had been sown together like a patchwork quilt.
“Is that a flesh golem?” Elvsida asked sounding revolted.
“Yes,” Glo answered, “I’m afraid so.”
The flesh golem was wearing a coat, pants and a bowtie! The creature was also carrying something rolled up under its arm.
“Well that’s definitely not the first thing I was hoping to see on our trip,” Donnie quipped.
Elvisda got out his lute and started playing a tune, just in case. Lloyd drew his blades and moved to the front of the group, but opted not to attack. Fafnar also drew his blade but followed the big warblade’s lead.
“Any idea what this thing wants?” Fafnar asked nervously.
“Not really sure,” Glo replied. He had prepared a spell, but also held off from casting.
Lloyd actually spoke up. He said to the creature “We come in peace!”
The creature stood there and no one moved for what seemed like an eternity. In reality it was probably less than 30 seconds. Then it started shambling up the rest of the steps towards the little group.
“Here it comes,” Donnie announced to no one in general.
Suddenly, the creature stopped. It was about 10 yards away from the group. It took out the object it was carrying underneath its arm, stooped down, and threw the item out on the floor. The item unrolled along the ground between the golem and the party. When it was finished, they could not believe their eyes. It was a red carpet! The golem had just rolled out the red carpet for them!
“Now that’s more like it!” Elvisda exclaimed.
The golem gestured for them to follow it, then turned around and started walking down the spiral staircase.
“Well, this creature seems to be showing remarkable good sense,” Fafnar declared. He sheathed his sword and began walking across the carpet and down the stairs after the golem. The rest of the party looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and followed after them.
The stairs spiraled down the tower to a doorway in the side of the wall. The golem opened the door and stepped through. The group from Restenford filed through the doorway behind the golem into a large room. It appeared to be a library of some sort. There were numerous shelves filled with books in every corner and jutting out into the room. Sitting on a perch in the middle of the room was a monkey dressed in a little outfit. He seemed to be surveying the little group as they entered.
Donatello walked up to the little creature and said “Good day to you. Do you speak?”
“Of course I speak!” the little simian answered testily. “What do I look like to you? Some kind of moronic human?”
Fafnar snorted. “It’s bad enough I have to put up with elves. Now this?”
“Look at this!” the monkey prattled on. “The human speaks. The elf speaks. And the monkey speaks. If the first two had any brains, maybe we could have an intelligent conversation.”
Donatello decided to ignore the remark and try to remain courteous. “And to whom do I have the privilege of speaking?”
“You mean you don’t know?” the monkey replied in an incredulous tone. “Why, I am the great Wizard Gaither!”
“No you’re most certainly not,” Glorfindel said stepping forward. “Enough of this foolishness. You’re probably just one of Gaither’s former familiars that somehow managed to outlast his master.”
Donnie and Elvisda exchanged a glance. Glorfindel had become more and more ill-tempered since Elistra had left them with no warning and under mysterious circumstances.
The monkey retorted, “Oh…and who are you in those fancy purple robes that thinks he knows so much?”
“I am the Wizard Glorfindel Arshatheriat, of the House of Eodin, of the Grey Elves of Cairthrellon. And I know a familiar when I see one.”
“Wow, a Wizard. And not just any wizard, but an elf wizard! From Cairthrellon,” the monkey taunted. “Oooo, am I supposed to be scared?”
“You should be. I am about this close,” Glo held up two fingers about an inch apart, “to scorching your little hide. Now stop babbling on like you own the place and tell us what you are doing here.”
“But I do own the place,” the monkey replied. “I am free and serve no one. The master left everything to me before he passed on. That’s my butler back there” it said pointing to the flesh golem behind them.
“Look monkey brains,” Johnny interjected. “You see this big guy here,” he said pointing to Lloyd. “He’s a big guy with a big appetite. He eats anything. Including monkeys!”
Elvisda was obviously starting to get fed up with the little monkey as well Donnie thought. This is not going to end well.
“Really?” the monkey was saying. “Well if he’s hungry, let me introduce him to my cook.” The little simian picked up a bell next to its perch and rang it. A few seconds later, another flesh golem entered the room through a door opposite the one they had come in. It was wearing a white outfit and a chef’s hat!
“Look,” Donnie spoke up again, trying to smooth things over before they really got out of hand, “we don’t really mean you any harm. We are just here in search of the Wizard Peltar.”
“Peltar? Peltar you say? That third rate hack couldn’t hold a candle to Gaither,” the monkey cackled. “He was here alright. Come and gone.”
“Can you tell us where he went?” Glorfindel asked.
“I could…but I won’t,” the monkey sneered. “I don’t like your attitude and I’m not answering anymore of your questions. Now get out of here before I sick my servants on you!”
“Well we’re not leaving till we get some answers,” Glo retorted hotly. “Now start talking or you’ll regret it.”
The monkey just stared back at the Wizard.
Uh oh, here it comes Donatello thought.
The monkey open its mouth wide and screeched “Attack!” at the top of its little lungs. Then it jumped up to the ceiling and hung on the chandelier right above it.
The golems at either end of the room began advancing on the group of adventurers. Fafnar drew his sword and turned on the golem “butler”. Simultaneous, Lloyd had drawn his two large blades and seeing Fafnar moving towards the one golem, went to intercept the “cook”.
Elvisda took out his lute and was playing some tunes to bolster the parties moral and confidence. Simultaneously, Glorfindel turned towards Lloyd and cast a spell on the warblade to make him even more heroic, if that was possible. Meanwhile, Donnie used his spider boots to climb up the wall and began sneaking up behind the monkey.
Fafnar and Lloyd moved in to engage the flesh golems. Lloyd swung his blades at the “butler”. He connected three times sliced though the golem’s flesh. It was definitely affecting the creature. The golem swung back at the warblade with its two brutish arms, but neither hit as the huge man was agile enough to dodge both blows.
Fafnar on the other hand, was not so lucky. Not having an adamantine sword like Lloyd, his attempts at damaging the “cook” came to naught. The golem, on the other hand, began to inflict a lot of damage on the Dunwynn Knight. He caught the Fafnar with a blow that sent him reeling back and almost toppling to the floor. But to his credit, the young man got up and charged the golem again.
Glorfindel realized that his spells would have no effect on the flesh golems. So he cast a spell on himself to make himself fly and floated up in front of the monkey. He thought If I can distract him, maybe Donatello can capture the little pest. He said out loud “Call off your apes you little twerp, before I fry your hide.”
“I don’t think so!” the monkey countered and began scampering all around the chandelier.
Donatello had been silently sneaking up behind the little creature. He was close to it now. He reached behind his back and pulled off his cloak. He seemed to wind it up in one hand and then let the other end fly forward towards the monkey. Snap! The end of the cloak wrapped itself around the creature and pulled it back right into Donatello’s outstretched arms. Donnie grabbed the cloak with the wrapped monkey inside and commanded “Call off your men!”
The monkey screamed “Stop!” at the top of its lungs. It was somewhat muffled from inside the cloak, but both golems stopped dead in their tracks.
“Now…are you going to behave yourself?” Donnie asked, keeping a tight grip on the cloak.
“Yes, yes master,” the monkey yelped from inside the cape. “What is your name, master?”
“Donatello,” the swashbuckler replied.
“Ahhhh…the great Donatello. You are master now,” the monkey declared.
Donnie was about to reply when the monkey gave a great twist from inside the cape and shot out of it across the room. As it hit the floor, it leapt for the stairs and yelled over its shoulder “Kill them all! Except for the master,” it added.
Donnie swore, swung down from the ceiling and took off after the creature. Glo, who had been hovering nearby, joined in the pursuit.
Elvisda, seeing the monkey getting away cast a spell of grease between it and the stairs. However, when the little simian hit the grease it went sliding across it and shot down the stairs. Donnie and Glo were right behind the little creature.
Meanwhile, the golems renewed their attack. Lloyd continued to hold his own, dealing out great amounts of damage with his dual blades. The golem was breaking through his defenses now, however, and the warblade began to get hit in return.
Fafnar was still having no luck with his opponent. In fairness, it was not from lack of skill with his weapon. He easily bypassed the golem’s defenses and was landing blow after blow on the creature. However, neither his sword nor his axe was able to damage the monster. And the creature in turn continued to hammer away at the struggling knight. This continued until finally, the knight went down.
As luck would have it, Lloyd had just landed the finishing blow on his adversary. He turned around and saw his new found “friend” was in trouble. Without a second thought, the warblade charged across the room and placed himself directly between the golem and the fallen Dunwynn knight.
The “cook”, who had taken no damage to date, suddenly found itself being sliced left and right. Lloyd’s twin blades bit into the creature’s hide on both sides, the adamantine blade rending flesh and leaving gaping holes. The monster flailed violently back at the big Warblade catching him with its great brutish arms. However, the Lloyd just shrugged off the blows and continued his relentless attack on the creature that had felled his comrade.
Fafnar was lying on the ground near death when his cleric knelt beside him. The holy man began healing him almost immediately and was able to bring him back from death’s door. To his credit, Fafnar tried to rise, but the Dunwynn Wizard behind him had begun to cast a spell. Before anyone could say anything, the three men from Dunwynn popped out of existence.
Elvisda looked on dumbfounded. “I can’t believe that son of a hell hound teleported away!” he cried. Then he looked over at Lloyd and realized that the big Warblade was struggling with the second golem. While he would most likely prevail, he would be badly hurt from this ordeal. And their only cleric had just been teleported the gods only know where.
The bard walked up behind the Lloyd and cast a spell to “blur” his appearance. Hopefully that will help Elvisda thought.
At the same time all this was happening, Donnie and Glo were chasing the monkey downstairs. The stairs opened up to a room similar to the one in which their friends were fighting one floor up. However, there were no books in this room. It looked like more of a living area. The monkey skittered across the floor and headed for the stairs on the opposite side of the room. Donnie threw a dagger and tried to pin the monkey down with it. But the little creature easily dodged the knife and kept going. Before it could reach the stairs though, a web appeared in front of it. Glo had placed it there with a spell as he flew after the little simian. However, the monkey was easily able to break through the web and continue downstairs.
Donnie was now starting to fall behind. The creature had made it down the stairs and was to the next floor. Glo had just flown out of the upper stairwell and saw the monkey nearing the stairs down already. This is ridiculous he thought to himself. Well, I guess there’s no choice. The wizard pointed his finger at the little beast and a beam of red hot light shot away from his fingertip. It arched its way across the room and caught the monkey in mid leap for the stairs. The creature instantly erupted into flames. Hot fur flew in all directions. When it hit the ground all that was left of the little monkey was a single paw.
Glo landed next to the remains. Donnie appeared a few minutes later and looked at the scorched remnants. He knelt down to pick up the paw and then looked up into the wizard’s face. Glorfindel wore an expression of deep regret. All the anger the wizard had exhibited earlier had been drained out of him.
“I really didn’t want to kill the little creature,” Glo said looking down at Donnie.
The other elf stood up and put his hand on his friends shoulder. “It couldn’t be helped. You had to do it. If the monkey had found more golems and sent them after us, none of us would have survived.”
Both men looked at each other and suddenly realized their companions were still fighting two flights up. “We’ve got to get back upstairs!” they both said simultaneously. Glo turned around and launched himself into the air, flying as quickly as possible back in the direction they had come. Donnie was not far behind.
When they got back up to the floor their friend were on, they were just in time to see Lloyd dispatch the last golem. The big warblade sat down and breathed a sigh of relief. “Now that was a fight!” he said with a big grin on his face.
“Where’s Fafnar?” Glo asked. Elvisda told them what happened.
“That son of a hell hound!” Glo exclaimed.
“That’s what I said!” Elvisda cried laughing. The others couldn’t help themselves. They all started laughing too. When they finally stopped, the bard said “In all fairness, it was the wizard’s fault, not Fafnar’s. So…where’s the monkey?”
Donnie reached into his pocket and drew out the paw.
They all burst into fits of laughter again.
Glo had decided to go back up stairs and examine the teleportation rings. Considering their current condition and the lack of a cleric, he figured they might need to teleport back to Restenford and regroup. Lloyd, still recovering from the fight, went with him.
In the meantime, Donnie and Elvisda went downstairs a few more flights to see what they could find to help them out. At the very least, if they could get to the bottom floor, they could maybe find a way out of the tower and into town where there were sure to be healers. However, the farther down they went, the more flesh golems they ran into. One was even dressed up in a skimpy maid’s outfit.
“Hey Elvisda,” Donnie whispered when they saw the maid. “There you go. You don’t have a girlfriend in this town yet…”
Elvisda gave the swashbuckler a hard look. Then he gazed again at the maid and almost hurled.
The two men finally decided there were too many flesh golems and the risk of getting discovered was too great. So they headed back upstairs to the top of the tower. There they relayed their predicament to their comrades.
“Well,” Glo responded “On a bright note, I figured out how this teleporter works.”
“That’s good,” Donnie said. “So does that mean we can go home now?”
“Not exactly,” Glo replied. “It’s an interesting mechanism. It doesn’t point to any one place. When I first looked at it, in fact, it was pointed to the general vicinity of Lycros.”
“So this contraption will teleport you to more than one location?” Elvisda asked in a surprised tone.
“Yes,” Glo told him. “In fact, you can actually set it to point to almost any location.”
“Really?” Elvisda replied seeming impressed. “Now that could come in handy.”
“Yes, it certainly could,” the wizard agreed. “However, there are some limitations. The setting of the rings is based on the positions of the Sun, the Moon and the other planets. And these will not be properly aligned for a journey back to Restenford until the day after tomorrow. So, it looks like we are stuck here for the next couple of days.”
“Hmm,” Donatello mused. “We can’t go back, and we can’t go down. Up perhaps?” he said.
They all looked at the ceiling. There was a ladder leading up to what looked like a trap door in the roof. Donnie climbed up and found a latch on the inside which he unbolted. Then he opened the door and climbed through. He was standing on the top of the tower, looking out over the town.
“Looks like I found our way out,” Donnie called down to the others.
The rest of the party climbed up. They closed the trap door, but left it unlatched. Then the group of adventurers flew over the river and landed on the next island over.